At 8:40pm the crowd applaued as Jackson's boyfriend, music mogul Jermaine Dupri took a seat in the V.I.P. floor box – putting to rest those bogus rumors that the two have split.
Having recovered from a bout with vestibular migraines, an unusual condition that creates the sensation of vertigo, the 42-year-old singer then took the stage at 8:45pm, sporting an outrageous mohawk while the crowd applauded thunderously.
Jackson's opening featured exploding pyrotechnics and a walk down memory lane, as the she performed classics like 'Pleasure Principle,' 'Control' and 'What Have You Done For Me Lately.'
The 'Why Did I Get Married?' star, who won a NAACP Image Award for "Outstanding Supporting Actress" for her role in the film, also performed a set of songs that she's never presented in a concert before.
"No matter where I go, people ask why I don't perform this song and that song. Why don't you do these songs? These songs are for my diehard fans," she said before singing a medley of rare numbers.
Among them were 'Young Love' and 'Say You Do' from her debut self-titled album in 1982, as well as 'Don't Stand Another Chance' from her 1984 sophomore release 'Dream Street.'
There are several virtual guest appearances on collaborative songs, and the nine costumes during the show showed off Jackson's newly voluptuous figure – though she's small in the waist, she's real, real thick in the backside.
After performing 'Rhythm Nation' there's a sequence in the choreography where Jackson pretends to be lightheaded and loses her balance. After her bout with vertigo, she may want to nix that part from the show.
Much of Indiana-born singer's two hour and fifteen minute set featured intricate dance routines and though Jackson never missed a beat during the show, there were a few times where she appeared winded.
In the end, a teary-eyed Jackson looked happy to be onstage and told the crowd: "I love you DC so much!"
Washington, DC's Verizon Center appeared to be at 90-percent capacity for the concert and despite internet rumors to the contrary, ticket sales for the 'Rock With U' tour have been selling extremely well according to a production rep.
Jackson's first tour jaunt in seven years will also play upcoming dates in Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Tulsa and New York.
The singer also intends to make up dates in additional cities where concerts where postponed due to her illness.
Though LL Cool J was not on-hand for the stop in the Nation's Capital, he will open the show in other cities.